97. Knows How to Forget!: Emily Dickinson

As graduation rolls around (again) I look for school and reflective poems. Here is one from Amherst. You can find others here.

Emily Dickinson FYI. First, she did not title her poems, but the first line is often used as the title. In the source I lifted this from it is simply listed as “433”, but I do not know who gave this number to it. Also note that there is a whole story behind Dickinson’s grammar and punctuation; someone “cleaned” up her grammar before publishing her, and it was only much later that her original punctuation was discovered. I am unsure of which version this might be, but I have used both versions of poems to talk about grammar with my students (and the importance of a comma).

Knows How to Forget
Emily Dickinson

Knows how to forget!
But could It teach it?
Easiest of Arts, they say
When one learn how

Dull Hearts have died
In the Acquisition
Sacrificed for Science
Is common, though, now—

I went to School
But was not wiser
Globe did not teach it
Nor Logarithm Show

“How to forget”!
Ah, to be erudite
Enough to know!

Is it in a Book?
So, I could buy it—
Is it like a Planet?
Telescopes would know—

If it be invention
It must have a Patent.
Rabbi of the Wise Book
Don’t you know?


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